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Danske Bank under money-laundering probe in France

Staff Writer |
A French judge is investigating Danske Bank for allegedly laundering stolen Russian money identified by deceased whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky.

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This is according to a former hedge-fund manager leading an international campaign for sanctions against Russia.

Bill Browder said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that French judge Renaud van Ruyrnbeke is investigating Denmark's biggest lender after he provided details of the lender's involvement in laundering money from a tax fraud Magnitsky exposed in Moscow.

Danske Bank said that it was under investigation by the French Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris court "in relation to suspicions of money laundering concerning transactions."

The bank said the transactions totaled about EUR15 million ($17.8 million) transferred to France by former customers of Danske Bank's Estonian unit between 2008 and 2011.

In 2009, Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked for Browder, died in custody after exposing evidence allegedly showing that police and criminals conspired to steal $230m in a tax fraud.

Browder said Danske Bank is the first lender to be formally investigated for allegedly laundering funds identified by Magnitsky.

In 2012, Browder successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which prevents anyone allegedly involved in Magnitsky's death from entering the U.S. or using the American banking system. He has campaigned for similar laws and investigations across Europe.

Browder said he contacted French authorities in September 2013 with details of how Danske Bank's unit in Estonia was involved in laundering the Russian money.


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